Three members of the band Pussy Riot were sentenced to two years in jail by a Moscow judge (who is female). They were charged with hooliganism motivated by religious hatred. Seems like it was more a staged protest against the re-election of Vladimir Putin, then religious hatred. They spontaneously performed in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior. What better way to get attention then to perform in a church. No wonder Madonna has shown support for them.
The NY Times reported that after the sentence was read, there was anti-censorship rioting.
Riot police officers arrested dozens of them, including the former chess champion Garry Kasparov, who is active in the Russian political opposition. Mr. Kasparov fought with the police and appeared to be beaten as he was bundled into a police vehicle.
|Pussy Riot being held before their court sentencing today.|
The saga began in February when the women infiltrated Moscow’s main cathedral wearing colorful balaclavas, and pranced around in front of the golden Holy Doors leading into the altar, dancing, chanting and lip-syncing for what would later become a music video of a profane song in which they beseeched the Virgin Mary to rid Russia of Mr. Putin. Security guards quickly stripped them of their guitars, but the video was completed with splices of footage from another church.
Punk Prayer is not much of a song or a video, but it's apparent protest is the key here. The nuns do look panicked. They may have feared for the church and it's sacred contents. MTV noted that on the same day Pussy Riot was sentenced, a Moscow court also upheld a controversial "100 year ban" on Gay Pride marches in the city. Free Pussy Riot.org is staging protests around the world, including two in NYC that should be going on as I write this.